From the beginning of his campaign to today, President Trump has promised to “Make America Great Again.” More than anything else this brand launched him into the White House.
But those of us who disagree with him argue that his programs won’t make America great. We believe that “Make America Great Again” hearkens back to the 1950s where America was great for only a fraction of America. It wasn’t great for people of color because much our nation legislated segregation that made the phrase all men are created equal illegal. And while we’re on the subject of “all men,” discrimination against women was seen as a way of protecting them.
Clearly President Trump yearns for a time when white men held all the power and everyone else was supposed to be OK with that.
And even if you don’t buy this, I maintain that the President’s programs will make America weaker. His success will make America weaker, not greater. His desire to make himself great will propel the rest of us to weakness.
Let me make a few points:
I think we can all agree that trade is good. The progression from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages to the Renaissance happened only because our ancestors figured out how to make more goods and more roads. One person grows more wheat than he needs and trades his surplus with someone who weaves more cloth than he needs. Both families prosper.
And since Marco Polo (1254-1324) we’ve known about the Silk Road, a path that opened the road between Europe and Asia. It gave us gunpowder and pasta. By any measure trade is good and protectionism (blocking trade) is bad. We need only to look at the Smoot Hawley Act of 1930. At the beginning of the Great Depression this act increased tariffs (and decreased trade) and made the Great Depression much worse.
Our President has denounced trade proposals for the Trans Pacific Partnership and NAFTA. He believes we will do best by producing, purchasing, and consuming only those goods and services that originated here. This is nothing but good news for China as they are happy to replace us as the nation everyone wants to trade with.
Meanwhile, North Korea builds its identity on the belief that they can take care of themselves and don’t need outsiders to provide their needs.
- President Trump is famously sensitive to criticism. Earlier this month Michael Wolff wrote Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House that claimed President Trump has lost control of his staff and his administration has devolved into chaos. In response President Trump has advocated for tightening libel laws, allowing hin to prosecute those who report what he doesn’t like.
Meanwhile, North Korea famously does not allow dissent from the “party line.”
- These examples may not seem like much, but President Trump clearly sees dissent as treason (ie, anyone who disagrees with me isn’t a true American) and gives no credit to honest disagreement. He makes promises that nobody believes he can keep (e.g. here).
We live in a complex society and we disagree about who we need to serve. We are a Nation of Immigrants and at the same time we want to make sure we all have what we need.
We’re heading in a bad direction.